The First Upset

Jan 23, 2009

And so, the crushing upsets of the top players has begun. Naturally it’s a lot more exciting for us to watch than it is for a player to experience. You can’t help but respect a lower-ranked player who dethrones one of the favourites.  And to watch a legend in tennis taken down always carries an element of shock too; their mortality within the sport is suddenly revealed for the world to see, and you can’t help but stare open-mouthed. It’s also not that common; there’s a reason why these ‘favourites’ are favoured so, and why they are ranked so highly above the underdogs.

Today, it was the turn of Venus Williams to take an early bow from the Australian Open and to face the music of being beaten in the second round. Williams seemed a shadow of the truly awe-inspiring player we know her to be, the score of defeat being 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. 20 year old Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro was the unseeded player who showed Williams the door, a player who had never really been given a second glance with an opponent like Venus.

Not playing true to her form however was not the only reason that she lost. There should be credit given to Navarro. To beat a world-class player as an unseeded one yourself is difficult enough; but to do that after coming back from being broken twice in the first set is impressive. With nothing to lose and a fearlessness often seen amongst the underdog players in these Grand Slam first rounds, Navarro started to make her mark on the match. The end result; the Spaniard broke William’s serve and then served herself for victory.

It is disappointing to see a player we are used to seeing storm through opponents suddenly fall so flat, but Venus is no stranger to picking herself up.
Her sister Serena today managed to cinch a win after a marathon match against Gisela Dulko of Argentina, so there is still an element of the Williams danger to the Australian Open. But Venus will be upset with this early defeat; it’s hardly the best start to 2009 for the world number 6.


-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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